chapter  32
11 Pages

Quality and Inner Satisfaction

Re-Visiting the Importance of Quality in Art and Art Therapy 1
WithEdith Kramer, Susan Ainlay Anand, Lani Gerity

This chapter begins in Paris, where we read about Edith sitting in a quiet corner of a small park, drawing a kitschy fountain. She discusses the difference between kitsch and quality, using this Parisian fountain as her focal point. She is concerned that art therapists understand quality, and the positive benefit to patients who put investment into their work and happily find that their work has evocative power, inner consistency, and an economy of means. Those who find these elements in their work also find an inner unity that gives them great satisfaction. The chapter continues with Susan and Lani’s ethnographic adventure in the Delta region of Mississippi where they talked with self-taught artists about what moves them to paint. It is clear while reading these wise artists’ extremely moving stories that where they had achieved an inner unity within their work they found great satisfaction. The authors found that all the artists shared what seemed to be a necessary stillness and space for experiences of quality, inner satisfaction, and wholeness in what is often called “the most southern place on earth.” The authors hope that this material will speak to the reader of the capacity for strength, dignity, and beauty that is inherent in all of us, whether we reside in the mainstream or margins of this culture. One of the artists, Mrs L. V. Hull of Kosciusko said “Art is good, this inspiration is good, but what is really good is to share it, to think about it, to talk to folks about why it is important.”